Chanukah birdies

Hey there folks!

Another holiday process post about my promo piece. In that first post, I mentioned that I did two new pieces for my holiday promo this year. One was a small piece for the back - Christmas with Coco and Oscar - and the second, a new Chanukah related piece. I deliberately made the Chanukah piece slightly ambiguous. When you look closely, you might have an "aha" moment, but then again, you might not. You might just think it's a pretty spiffy winter-holiday-related painting of some penguins and a flamingo.

As mentioned in that first post, I came up with a vague idea for some holiday penguins, and I ran with them.

Here's a quick run through of the penguins and the beginning painting stages:
(Apologies for the crappy resolution/color balance. I'm having some trouble with my camera, and I neglected to scan the piece in-process. Oops.)

 Penguins... check.

And we're done.

Sort of.

I actually ended up doing the entire piece over. First, I wasn't super happy with the flamingo. I thought he could be better. Second, I thought my Chanukah birds just might be tooooo ambiguous. Third, I wasn't thrilled about some of the color choices. So I adjusted the sketch and started the whole thing over. Success.

Happy eighth night folks!

Night number seven

A little something sweet for the seventh night.

Christmas Process

 Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating!

Today I'm going to share a bit of holiday process work.

For my holiday promo, I did two small new pieces - one Christmas themed and the other (if you're looking closely) Chanukah related. Rather than coming up with all new characters, I decided I wanted to play with two recent and familiar faces.

My first step is always visual brainstorming. This is my favorite part of the process. I try a whole bunch of ideas and see which fits best. My first idea for this little project was a Chanukah Coco & Oscar image.

Nothing really seemed quite right, and I almost abandoned Coco & Oscar in favor of a handful of penguins. (Fear not, I didn't abandon the penguins entirely. They'll make a reappearance in a post next week...) 

Until finally I tried combining holidays and came up with this.

And this...


After all of the brainstorming, I prep the final piece. I take my final sketch and do a really loose version on good paper.

I use those loose guides to do a new sketch on the good paper. At this point, I make any necessary adjustments to the characters and composition.

Once I'm happy with the characters, I can start painting.

Until finally...

Merry Christmas!

If latkes weren't enough...

(Jelly donuts)

Freylechn Chanukah!


Guess what's for dinner...

Happy third night!

Chappy Chanukah!

Happy 2nd night everyone!

Happy Chanukah!

To all those lighting candles tonight, chag sameach!

Wordy Birdies

Howdy everyone,

So the letter project continues! This time, I had two snazzy letters to send, one to N and a second to KE, a new SCBWI friend from this year's LA Conference.

I was feeling craftsy, so I decided to play around with some paper and fabric. For the card itself, I cut apart a couple of old brown postcards and then wove the strips together to make a nest. Then I added a couple of birds and a few eggs. When I finished, admittedly it looked pretty snazzy, but the eggs seemed rather naked. Since my nest was woven from a bunch of hacked up letters, I decided to add a few bird-inspired quotes - among others, the poetic, the irreverent, and the ridiculous. Finally, I glued the whole mess onto a card, making sure that all the parts and pieces were still mobile.

Wordy birdy -

"I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes."
~Charles Lindburgh

Two of them!

"Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines."
~John Benfield

Moving pieces!

"I rejoice that there are owls... they represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have." ~Henry David Thoreau

"Alone and warming his five wits, the white owl in the belfry sits."
~Lord Alfred Tennyson 

 "When birds burp, it must taste like bugs."
~(Calvin) Bill Waterson

"My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather."
~Loire Hartwould

Birds of a Feather...

Hey there, blog readers.

Not too long ago, I posted a whole bunch of fowl sketches. Though I put them up just in time for Thanksgiving, they were actually for an unrelated project - an illustration of a passage from Chicken Licken.

The story can get pretty repetitive:

"So they went along and went along until they met Turkey Lurkey
'Good morning, Goosey Loosey, Ducky Daddles, Cocky Locky, Henny Penny,
and Chicken Licken,' said Turkey Lurkey, 'where are you going?'
'Oh, Turkey Lurkey, the sky is falling and we are going to tell the King!'
'How do you know the sky is falling?' asked Turkey Lurkey.
'Ducky Daddles told me,' said Goosey Loosey.
'Cocky Locky told me,' said Ducky Daddles.
'Henny Penny told me,' said Cocky Locky.
'Chicken Licken told me,' said Henny Penny
'I saw it with my own eyes, I heard it with my own ears,
and a piece of it fell on my tail!' said Chicken Licken.
'Then I will go with you,' said Turkey Lurkey. 'And we will tell the King!' " ...

And on and on like that... Because the action of the text itself wasn't super interesting for me, I found my way into the illustration by playing with the characters of the individual birds.

You may remember the sketch...

And ta da! The finished piece...

Sketchbook Thursday

Hey there blog readers.

On my desk right now is a painting - not quite done yet - and of late, I've been getting up and (following a necessary caffeine infusion) going straight into the studio to work on it. I don't know if you've ever tried writing first thing after you wake up, but just take a look at your handwriting. Seriously, are those even words?! Because my writing more often resembles hieroglyphics when I start early, I am loathe to dive into work on a finished piece. Recently I've been doing warm-up sketches to get my hands ready to work.

Today's theme: frogs. I've been toying with an amphibious project and figured why not warm-up with something I can later put to use.

For love of NY

Central Park at twilight this week. It was pretty great.